Monday, January 23, 2012

Two Knit Hearts

   There is something magical about knitting a shape, and pulling the finished product out of the felting process. If you want a felted heart, of course you can always make your felt and then cut out the heart shape ~ but there is no imitating the beautifully rounded edges of a hand made applique that hasn't seen scissors.

   These patterns are in honor of Mommamindy, who encouraged me to start a blog and who asked for a knitted heart a year ago. It took me a while to come up with one that would really turn out without being pieced (a perfectly legitimate operation that I am simply too lazy to perform.)

   I include two patterns. Each has its advantage. They are essentially the same, one worked from the top and the other from the bottom. The one worked from the top down is made similar to many leaves. The directions are easier to follow, and it seems to provide a more consistent result.

   The one worked from the bottom up is a little trickier and a little harder to explain, but you might prefer its shape.

size 11 needles
Lambs Pride Worsted ~ or other wool, if felting
gauge: 6 1/2 stitches = 2 inches in stockinette (need not be exact)

Heart 1, Knit from the top down:

CO 7
Row 1: K3, YO, K1, YO, K3.
Row 2: P3, P1K1 in the same stitch (It will be your YO from the last row), YO, P1, YO, P1 K1 in same stitch, P3. (13 stitches.)
Row 3: K5, K1 P1 in same stitch, YO, K1, YO, K1 P1 in same stitch, K5.
Row 4: P7, P1 K1 in same stitch, YO, P1, YO, P1, K1 in same stitch, P7. (21 stitches.)
Row 5: K2 tog, Knit to within 2 stitches of end, K2 tog.
Rows 6, 8, 10,12: Purl.
Rows 7, 9,11,13 : Repeat row 5.(11 stitches.)
Row 14: P2 tog, Purl to within 2 stitches of end, P2 tog. (9 stitches.)
Row 15, 17, 19: Repeat row 5. (3 stitches)
Rows 16, 18, 20: Purl
Row 21: Sl1, K2tog, PSSO

Pull yarn through remaining stitch and tie off.

If you aren't going to felt this, you will need to steam it to get it to hold its shape.

Heart 2, Knit from the point up:

CO 1
Row 1: Knit, Purl, Knit in the same stitch
Row 2, 4, 6, 8: Purl
Row 3, 5, 7, 9: Increase 1 in first stitch. Knit across. Increase 1 in last stitch. (11 stitches after row 9)
Row 10: Increase 1 in first stitch. Purl across. Increase 1 in last stitch. (13 stitches.)
Row 11, 13, 15, 17: Repeat row 3. (21 stitches after row 17)
Row12, 14, 16, 18,: Purl
Row 19: K10 Pull previous 9 stitches over the 10th, (One stitch left on your right hand needle.) Knit center stitch. Pass the previous stitch (the only one left on your needle) over the center stitch. Knit 1 very loosely. Knit 9 more. Put these 10 stitches back on the left hand needle. Pass 9 of  them over the first loosely knit stitch (towards the center of your heart.) Put your center stitch on the left hand needle. Pass only other remaining stitch over the center stitch. Tie off the end.

If you aren't going to felt this you will need to steam it to get the right shape.

This heart is part of a for-sale pattern for a Kindle Cover that I offer on Etsy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jesus vs. Religion ~ Grandma's Response

           Dedicated to Jubilee Song, a granddaughter  who was born the same day as this poem.   

          It’s Done

It’s done. It is finished — and done once for all —                 Heb. 10:10
The work of the cross that has torn down the wall;                Eph. 2:14
That satisfied justice and paid for our sin,                              Rom 3:25-26
And opened up heaven that all may go in.                               Col. 1:5; Rom. 5:18

None other but Jesus could do what he’s done;                      Acts 4:12
No one but the Saviour, who’s God’s only Son.                     Matt 3:17
Atonement for sin is from him and not you —                        Rom. 5:11
Yet he never said there was nothing to do.                              Matt. 4:44

The works of religion are empty and vain,                              Matt. 15:9, Heb. 6:1
And can’t help a sinner to be born again,                                Eph. 2:9
But works of obedience are fruit that we see                          1 Peter 1:2; Matt 12:33
In every believer whom Christ has made free.                         Rom. 8: 2-4

The power of Christ is the power to save;                              Rom. 1:16
To save men from sin, and not only the grave.                        Matt. 1:21
On all of his followers he places demands —                          Matt. 16:24
And gives them the strength to obey his commands.                Phil. 4:13

Of things that our Master has told us to do
In rhyme I will mention but only a few:
First, Come unto me for my burden is light.                           Matt 11: 28, 30
And learn of my ways, so you judge what is right.                 Matt. 11:29, John 7:24

Beware of false prophets, and don’t be a fake:                       Matt. 7:15; Matt. 6: 2, 5, 16
Be willing to give up your life for my sake.                            Mark 8:35
Don’t lay up your treasures on earth anymore,                       Matt. 6:19
But seek first the kingdom and give to the poor.                     Matt. 6:33; Matt. 19:21
Repent, be converted, forgive from your heart,                 Matt. 4:17, Matt. 18:3; Mark 11:25, Matt. 18:35
Cut off every sin, and from evil depart.                                  Matt. 5:30, 1 Peter 3:11
Go in at the gate and keep on in the way;                               Matt 7:13; Col 2:6
Have faith in your God, but take heed, watch and pray.          Mark 11:22; Mark 13:33

Continue in truth, and abide in the vine,                                John 8:31; John 15:4
So love one another, and let your light shine.                         John 13:34; Matt. 5:16
Go unto all nations the gospel to preach;                                Mark 16:15
The things I’ve commanded are things you should teach.         Matt. 28:20

To hear without doing is building on sand —                          Matt. 7:26
To hear and then do is the biblical stand,                                Matt. 7:24
So if you have ears that are able to hear —                             Matt. 11:15
Work out your salvation with trembling and fear.                     Phil. 2:12

Nita Brainard, January 15, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012


   How often we hear the laments of Christians who know they don't deserve the grace they have received ~ much less anything more! How much I feel it myself ~ and this is what looks me in the face every time I go to pray for something I want. I don't deserve it. Now, faith rises above this feeling. It looks at God and what he has promised, not at myself and what I deserve.  Yet, we know there are conditions to answered prayer. God does have expectations for us as Christians, and David in the Psalms often held up his own righteousness as part of his plea.  How do we put these things together?

   The answer is to see ourselves the way God sees us. I am not talking about the much-repeated doctrine that when God looks at me he sees Jesus. I believe God can see me when he looks at me ~ and I believe he can love me the way I am. Yes, I am washed in the blood of Jesus ~ which makes all the difference in the world, but  it is still me he sees ~ the washed me. That washing is real. In one sense it is perfect. It puts me in perfect standing with God. In another sense it is ongoing, and still incomplete ~ but just as real. I do have real righteousness, and I am a very different person than I would be without Christ. Nonetheless, I feel very much my own shortfall. And I believe that the more Christ works in a person, the more he is likely to feel how very unworthy he is.

   God looks through all the imperfections and sees one of his own people. All the Old Testament saints ahd their weaknesses, and none perhaps more so than Lot, yet when Lot is mentioned in the New Testament, he is called righteous. In two short verses (2 Peter 2:7-8), three times, God calls Lot righteous, and makes a sharp contrast between him and the ungodly of Sodom and Gomorrah (vs.6.) (In the King James, the word translated righteous is once translated just, but in the Greek the word is the same all three times, and in English the meaning is the same.) The verses make it plain that this righteousness was real, not something only God could see. It caused Lot to vex over the sin around him, and to vex daily. Nonetheless it was far from perfect, and if Lot had asked to be delivered from Sodom, he probably would have thought, "I don't deserve it." But God is good, and the Lord knows how to deliver the godly. (2 Peter 2:9.)

   I Don’t Deserve     

I don’t deserve a moment’s grace
   Much less such love as this:
That One should die to take my place
   And all my guilt dismiss.

I can’t repay the debt I owe;
   I know I can’t begin.
The more I try my love to show,
   The more I feel my sin.

He gives me strength from day to day
   To set myself apart,
To walk the straight and narrow way,
   And love Him from the heart.

But all the good He’s worked in me;
  The strength, the faith, the love;
Does not attain the least degree
   Of what He’s worthy of.    

The God who gave His only Son
   And hides me with His wings
Is also now the very One             
   Who promises “all things.”

And should I think to earn the right
   His blessings to receive?
No, grace has brought me better light —
   And taught me to believe.

Nita Brainard
December 28, 2011

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Variation on the Easy Flower

I've enjoyed the ease of the Easy Flower, but I was getting bored with the results. Here is a variation that has a little more ruffle. It takes a little longer to make, and it uses a little more yarn, but it is still easy. The only change is in row 6.

A New Easy Flower
Using size 11 needle, and worsted weight yarn,
Cast on 7 st. leaving a long tail (6-8 inches)
Knit one row. Purl one row.
Change color.
Row 3: K1, YO across, ending K1.
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: Repeat row 3. (25 stitches)
Row 6: *Purl 1, then K1 P1 in same stitch* (This will be your YO from previous row.) Repeat across row.
Row 7: Repeat row 3. (73 stitches)
Row 8: Bind off in knitting.

Thread tail from cast on in tapestry needle. Run the needle through the cast on stitches and pull into a circle. Tie off. Sew up the edges of the flower. Weave in yarn ends.

After felting:

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cowper Quotations

   I have a fascination with William Cowper (1731-1800) and a great appreciation for his wit and wisdom. When I read his complete works a few years ago, I wrote down many of my favorite quotations. I often enjoy rereading them, and I like to share them with the world. I find, however, that many people don't understand his 18th century English. If you haven't absorbed yourself in his ways of thinking, you may not catch his delightful humor, and so these quotations pulled out of context may not strike you with the same effect that they have me. Nonetheless, for my sake, if for none other, I am posting a few of those most able to stand alone.

Quotations from William Cowper 

Culled from The Works of William Cowper, by T. S. Grimsawe, London 1865

~There is a roughness on a plum, which nobody that understands fruit would rub off, though the plum would be much more polished without it. 384 a-b

~The mercy that can forgive iniquity will never be severe to mark our frailties. 16b

~Remember the loss of those we love is the condition on which we live ourselves. 409a

~Fruit ripens only a short time before it rots; and man in general, arrives not at maturity of mental powers at a much earlier period. 414a

~I am not one of those sages who requires that young men should be as old as themselves before they have time to be so. 356a

~There is little good done by preachers til the world begins to abuse them. 423a

~People are never in reality happy when they boast much of being so. 243b

~Praise I find affects us as money does. The more a man gets of it, with the more vigilance he watches over and preserves it. 257a.

~There is a medium between truth and falsehood; and I believe the word mistake expresses it exactly. 353a

~He is the freeman whom the truth makes free, And all are slaves beside. 283b

~Ability is not wisdom. 302a

~We are not always the wiser for our knowledge. 321b

~A melancholy pleasure is better than none, nay, verily, better than most. 329a

~We would always withhold from the skies those who alone can reach them. 129b

~No man was ever scolded out of his sins. 135a

~There is no grace that the spirit of self can counterfeit with more success than a religious zeal. 135a

~It is ever the way of those who rule the earth to leave out of their reckoning Him who rules the universe. 143a

~Nothing is so apt to betray us into absurdity as too great a dread of it. 161b

~We miscarry through mere desire to excel. 161b

~It is comfortable to be of no consequence in a world, where one cannot exercise any without disobliging somebody. 165a

~By assuming an air of cheerfulness, we become cheerful in reality. 170a

~We are all good when we are pleased, but she is the good woman who wants not a fiddle to sweeten her. 356a

~He who neglects the world will be by the world neglected. 199a

~The unhappy, I believe, are always selfish. 212b

~Folly and innocence are so alike, The difference, though essential, fails to strike. 508b

~To follow foolish precedents, and wink With both our eyes, is easier than to think. 589b

~Might I not, like the Americans, emancipate myself from one master only to serve a score. 42b

~My troubles gushed from my eyes, and then I was better. 400b

~Fame is a commodity that daily sinks in value, in measure as the consummation of all things approaches. 313b